EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geoscience on television – it’s applied, it’s local, and it shows that scientists are ordinary people.

Siobhán Power1, Koen Verbruggen1, Jen Dunbar2, and Nuala Cunningham2
Siobhán Power et al.
  • 1Geological Survey Ireland, Dept. of the Environment, Climate and Communication., Ireland (
  • 2New Decade TV, Dublin, Ireland

Recent efforts in Ireland to bring geoscience to primetime and make it a national topic of conversation have proven effective. Successful annual participation by Geological Survey Ireland in a primetime science research series encouraged the development of a three-part series fully dedicated to the geology of Ireland and current work happening to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing climate and the need to manage resources in a sustainable way. The hour-long shows were broadcast at a prime Sunday evening time on autumn 2022 and attracted 20 – 27% of the audience share. They were a production for RTÉ (Ireland’s national broadcaster) and BBC Northern Ireland and being named The Island, the shows covered the whole island of Ireland and featured scientists working in all areas. The Island was led by an internationally known presenter, and this ensured high-profile coverage in advance of the broadcast. The content was a mix of classic geological locations, beautiful photography, input from scientists, well-designed educational graphics, and inspiring music. The audience was guided gently through the science by enthusiastic scientists from the opening tectonic history of Ireland, a story not known by the public, to positive discussions on the future. There was something for everyone and it encouraged ownership and engagement of the science by the audience. The television shows were well-received on social media, both by geoscientists and people with very little previous exposure to the topics on the show.  Since broadcast, the shows have remained on a streaming service and are being used by schools for the teaching of geography – the main subject for geoscience in the national curriculum. Use of national television, with the accompanying use of post-broadcast streaming, and social media, has been an effective way to introduce the science around the critical topics related to climate change and natural resource management. Being presented in a beautiful way by ordinary voices and engaging scientists, and with very little emotive undertones, has allowed the audience to take ownership of the topics as they are local and applicable to their lives and futures.

How to cite: Power, S., Verbruggen, K., Dunbar, J., and Cunningham, N.: Geoscience on television – it’s applied, it’s local, and it shows that scientists are ordinary people., EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-15138,, 2023.